MANNY Pacquiao has vowed to honor his Uniform Players Contract with Mahindra in the PBA, making an assurance that he won’t be suiting up for the Senate team in the coming new season of the UNTV Cup.
Mahindra team manager and 1Pacman party list Representative Eric Pineda personally called a top league official to guarantee that Pacquiao won’t be playing for any team other than the Enforcer.
The 37-year-old Pacquiao, the do-it-all senator and boxing legend, created ripples over the weekend after a Senate press statement named him as part of the team competing in the fifth season of the UNTV Cup that also included fellow solons Sonny Angara and Joel Villanueva.
“Tumawag si Congressman (Eric) Pineda and assured na hindi lalaro si Senator Manny sa UNTV Cup,” said league media bureau chief Willie Marcial on Monday.
The press statement said Pacquiao has already joined the Senate team, being handled by former Adamson coach Mike Fermin, in its twice-a-week practices.
A total of 12 teams are seeing action in the UNTV Cup which formally kicked off on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
While it may be charitable in nature as it has several non-government organizations as beneficiaries, the fact that it is a tournament makes it impossible for Pacquiao to play in the meet while maintaining his status as playing-coach of Mahindra in the pro league.
“Walang problema kung charity game lang yan as long may basbas ng (Mahindra) team,” stressed Marcial. “Pero hindi puwede pag tournament.”
Pacquiao also tried to do the same when he still had control of the Pilipinas Aguilas team prior to the start of the last Asean Basketball League season. Eventually, he abandoned the plans when told he can’t suit up for another ballclub since his contract with Mahindra is binding.
The eight-time world division champion has been preoccupying himself with a lot of things of late, including his work in the Senate, attending and playing games for Mahindra in the ongoing Governors Cup, and doing light training for his comeback fight against Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas on November 5.